The Need: At Mars, we want to contribute to a circular economy where packaging material never becomes waste, but is recycled, reused or composted. We are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to reimagine and redesign our portfolio. In the process of reviewing our packaging portfolio, we recognized that our current PET Club Jar fits the recycling infrastructure, and therefore, we want to ensure that we are doing our part to drive circularity in this packaging format by incorporating recycled content into the jar.
The Solution: We incorporated 15% recycled content into M&M’S®, STABURST®, and SKITTLES® 60-, 81-, 87-ounce Club Jar, to drive the demand and circularity of the rPET stream resulting in a reduction of approximately 300 tons of virgin plastic a year.
Which of the Pact’s 4 Targets does your work help achieve?
TARGET 4: By 2025, the average recycled content or responsibly sourced bio-based content in plastic packaging will be 30%
What makes it particularly smart or circular? Working with recycled content is new for Mars Wrigley. And knowing there is a lot to learn in the recycled content space, we wanted to ensure we were balancing moving with speed on an execution to begin to send the demand signal to the rPET manufacturers, while also making sure we are protecting the quality of our products. This launch has paved the way for other initiatives to follow suit, which includes expanding the recycled content for these packs.
Results, Benefits, and Outcomes to Date: Building an internal process to qualify resin material. Further understanding the recycling infrastructure and supply base in the rPET space.
The jars will eliminate approximately 300 tons of virgin plastic per year and for the 81- and 87-ounce jars, Berry also was able to reduce the weight by 10 grams per jar, saving 374 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2)
How are you communicating your success? We are communicating our new jars through multiple channels internally and externally. Internally we have shared the news through multiple Associate channels including internal website, newsletters and internal podcast.
Externally we partnered with Berry Global on a joint press release to announce the launch of the new jars. The press release was shared with key media outlets including sustainability trade and consumer media. We are also communicating through owned social channels as well as leadership social channels.
We have also shared this news directly with key government and sustainability stakeholders and partners to celebrate the progress to our packaging sustainability commitments.
What’s Next? We are exploring increasing the loading of our jars, possibly moving away from chemical rPET to mechanical rPET in the following increments: 25%, 50%, and 100% PCR. We are currently working through the internal approval processes, FDA letters of no objection, transit testing, and ensuring the additional loading does not have any impact to product or sensory. In addition to the base, we are also exploring loading PCR into our Lid Closure. The ultimate goal of this particular SKU set is to continue to provide our consumers with great tasting products, while limiting or eliminating our virgin plastic consumption.
Roadblocks & Lessons Learned: In the world of packaging sustainability, we are cognizant that there is a lot of opportunity when it comes to the future state infrastructure, increasing recycling rates, and influencing consumer behaviors. We also know that within Mars, we believe that progress is the new perfect. While it would have been great to come out to market with a solution that was entirely made of 100% PCR, we made the deliberate decision to move quickly through our internal processes, ensuring we were doing all we could to protect our product and consumer experience, while paving the way for additional progress against our goals. We are proud to celebrate this milestone, as it allowed us to learn quickly and get something into market to showcase our commitment to working toward the future state goals of Mars, where we have a circular economy where packaging material never becomes waste.
Core Team, Partners, & Participants: Resin supplier, packaging development, product development, SRA, co-pack facilities, corporate affairs, industrial engineering, activity management, packaging sustainability, commercial, innovation transformation, finance, and marketing.
Time Frame: 16 months
Budget: We absorbed a 3% increase in packaging costs to pursue our sustainability goals.
Quote: “We are extremely proud to continue to drive progress again our goals to offer more sustainable solutions for our packaging. Through this project we were able to incorporate PCR into our transparent container while offering consumers the same experience they expect with our brands.” – Katarzyna Latka, Strategic Sourcing Manager, Mars Inc.
Company/Organization Information: Mars was founded in 1911 and headquartered in McLean, Virginia. Mars currently has 140,000+ Associates worldwide.